Lucas Heights

5 minutes

Cliff faces south

Water-washed sandstone


Steep sport climbing in the mid grades and with all day shade. Lucas Heights is an unusually substantial cliff overlooking the scenic Woronora River set amongst lush forest and within critical meltdown distance of Australia's only nuclear reactor. The routes generally climb gorgeous steep water worn orange rock up to 20m in length. Most routes are now well bolted with ringbolts & lower-off anchors (2014). It is a good destination during summer since it faces south. Sections of the cliff seep after heavy rain and during winter when it gets no direct sun. Trail bikers are a bit of a menace along the dirt tracks above the cliff. Not only do they tear past and make a racket, they also love to chuck their lunch rubbish (and old bikes!) off the top of the cliff, thus the base of the cliff is a bit of a dump. Bring mosquito repellant.


To get to the crag, drive to corner of David Road and Old Illawarra Road in Bardens Ridge. Drive south down Old Illawara Road for 100m and park just before sharp left turn at bushland. Follow a large flat firetrail west taking the right hand most fire trail along the ridge top past two old quarries. At the second major quarry leave the main trail and scramble down left towards the river - look for bit of old engine block marking the top of the descent track. Trend down and right under the scrappy cliff following a vague trail until the real cliff finally emerges from the undergrowth. Climbs described right to left (east to west), facing the cliff.

* Nameless Faces 22 20m
Nice full length sport route that is slightly spoiled by the midway ledge. Start below shallow corner in front of block with FH. Up the corner to sloping break, traverse right 2m then up with a powerful move to door-handle jug (sling it). Mantle onto ledge, then left a metre and up steep juggy grey wall to hard slab move to gain base of huge roof. Monkey across roof for 2m to chain-anchor on lip (hard to clip, toe jam the break!). All bolts, including the FHs are glue-ins and bomber.
Chris Wallace 1994 10m Extension Neil Monteith 2014
* Syncrotron 22 30m
A bonus long pumpy traverse finish to Interior Castle. Up that route to the top of the corner under the big roof, take a breath, then launch rightwards along break. It's easy at first but the further right it gets slopier, steeper and with less feet. Anchor at far right end of roof. Either back-clean or get someone to second.
Neil Monteith Januray 2014
* * Interior Castle 22 19m
This steep rightward leaning corner system looks grade 16, was originally graded 19 and is now considered at least 22 after several prominent failures. Despite the sandbaggery it's the best line of the cliff and has a very baffling pumpy bulgy section in the middle. Starts 5m left of NF, below the prominent corner, just before small overhanging section at about waist height. Look for shiny unreccessed ringbolts (don't worry - they are bomber). Stick-clip first bolt then stem up corner to ledge. Layback, grunt and swear up the bulgy bit to next ledge. Up monster jugs to the roof then finish with an airy traverse left to lower-off bolts. In the ye olde days there was a second pitch up the 7m dirty arete. Looks for rusty BRs.
David Barnes 1994
Forever is Hard to Imagine 23M1 20m
A flawed and incomplete route superseded by the easier and better OtaNS. The bolts on this route are very unsafe rusted unwelded rings. Do not trust them. Start: Below undercut wall. Campus jugs past crap RB, then up easy slab to ledge. Straight up to manky RB, and aid on this to bypass hard move. Continue up past another crap RB (beaten up) to ledge. Move up and left over bulge and mantle onto the grotty black slab and rap chain.
David Barnes 1995
* * Ode to a Nuclear Scientist 21 15m
Great steep climbing which stays dry in almost any weather. Straightened out and easier version of FiHtI. Two u-bolts up face to ledge. Swing left across horizontal then up juggy steep stuff to final roof move to clip anchor on lip.
Neil Monteith October 2011
* * Cortisone 24 14
Start up Ode to a Nuclear Scientist for 2 bolts, then move leftwards though 2 boulder problems to an easy finish.
Jason Lammers 2014

The following two obscure climbs are gained by abseiling in either from above the roof right of FiHtI, or from the ledge left of the DBBs on IC.

Party Rough Tongue 15 7m
Up the corner and slab (cams and BR). Double BB.
David Barnes 1994
Atomic Thunderbuster 12 7m
Start as for PRT. Left onto nose and up (2 BRs).
David Barnes 1994

Back to ground level. The next two routes breach the big featured rooves that continue left from Ode to a Nuclear Scientist.

* Monkey Bar 24 10m
Outrageous roof climbing. Short wall then out roof on pockets to catch the monkey bar jug in the lip. Finish up tricky slopes heading left (don't go up the dirty crack). All u-bolts apart from one FH in the roof.
Neil Monteith November 2011
* Where's Wally? 25 10m
Start below the big roof 5m left of Monkey Bar. Boulder up the wall (no bolts) then out the big roof. 3 FHs to chain on right.
Chris Wallace 1990s

The following climb is accessed from the top by following the narrow ledge in from the right. Rap down from a chain to a hanging belay off large manky chain..

Vapour Trail 22 10m
May have once been worthwhile after extensive cleaning but these days it is a sea of black and green lichen and the bolts are heavily rusted. Rightward trending black slab with 2 FHs and two pathetic miniature rusted unwelded ringbolts. The top section looks impossible - unless there is some sort of secret hold under the lichen??
David Barnes 1995

Back to ground level. On the far left end of the crag is a grid-bolted section of excellent bulging orange and back rock capped by roofs. The next four routes all share the same start, a ramp of small logs in between ferns.

* * Crab Nebula 25 18m
A long thin traverse on gorgeous orange rock. Start up Reactorvate for two bolts, then head right for 10m past FHs and RBs to handcrack. Up this for a few metres to anchor bolts on bulge.
Neil Monteith, 03/02/2015
* Buzzfeed 25 13m
First two bolts of Reactorvate, then slightly right and straight up seam on fingerlocks to roof crack. Undercling out to lip and anchors.
Neil Monteith, 2014
* * * Reactorvate 24 13m
Gorgeous orange bulging wall about 20m left of Where's Wally. Rightwards up grey slopers to hollow undercut orange flake. Traverse left across sloping break to small corner. Up this to horizontal crack under big roof. Traverse 2m right then out roof (crux) to anchor on lip. Hands on the top for the tick.
Neil Monteith Jan 2014
* * Mr Burns 25 14m
Bouldery from start to finish! Starts 1m left of Reactorvate. Up and left on grey jugs, then over reachy rooflet to first horizontal break. Up using the mutated hold to next horizontal break. Jam/undercling/curse up the wall to next horizontal break under big roof. Swing through this to hard final move onto ledge and lower-off rings.
Neil Monteith Jan 2014
* Hills Have Eyes 23 12m
2m left of Mr Burns, above small tree stump. Steep start through bulge, then long moves between horizontals and through roof to anchors. Reachy!
Neil Monteith & Wade Stewart 2014
* * String Theory 22 35m
An epic traverse, and possibly the longest trad route in the Shire. Up Yo! Don Bosco to the third bolt, then traverse right along the horizontal break under the big roof for 30m to bolt rap anchor. The crack is mostly hand size, but some finger and fist sized cams are also needed.
Paul Thomson, Neil Monteith, 5th Feb 2014
Yo! Don Bosco 21 16m
Before recent redevelopment, this was the easiest route at the crag - apart from the first crank around the roof! Located at far left hand end of main wall at left end of major roofs. Stick clip first RB on lip of roof, balance onto cairns on rock ledge, boulder over lip and up rightwards on juggier face to DRB anchor. The original route went up for another couple of bolts up the dirty black slab. This route tends to seep heavily during the wetter months.
David Barnes 1994
Fusions 18 14m
Easiest route at the crag (that doesn't involve a rap in). A fun route up a water-washed groove and juggy roof. Starts 50m left of Yo! Don Bosco, starting on higher terrace just right of small tree growing against rock.
Neil Monteith 2014
* Fission Trip 19 10m
The other easy route at the crag. 5m left of Fusions, and just left of little tree growing against cliff. Tricky start over little overlap then up featured seam crack to break. Finish straight up to single large U anchor under roof with fixed biner (please don't steal it).
Neil Monteith, z_swander, 06/02/2015
* * The Bomb 22 13m
Fission Trip for three bolts then left through rooflet on amazing rock. Keep traversing left to hanging bulge and finish up slab then reach over roof to finish jugs and single large U bolt anchor. Best to back jump to clean.
Neil Monteith, 06/02/2015
Functional Histone Antibody Fragments Traverse V0
A 10m R to L traverse of the awesome horizontal break starting at the base of Fission Trip. A good little pump.
Neil Monteith, 06/02/2015